How to Score Awesome Thrifted Furniture

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I’ve gotten some questions on Instagram about my thrifted furniture finds, so I thought I’d do a post on thrifting tips! I’m by no means a pro–there are literally tons of Instagram accounts run by people who buy thrifted furniture, fix it up, and sell it, and basically wish I was that talented–but I’ve had a lot of fun finding great pieces for low prices and sharing my redos via Insta stories. Here are a few pieces of advice!

1) Browse frequently. You’re not necessarily going to have luck every time you go looking for a piece of furniture (same goes when it comes to Craigslist–I’ve found that the selection on there can either be really blah or full of gems). However, if you go to the same places often enough, you’ll have a sense of their prices and what they carry. If a thrift store rarely carries any furniture or only sells extremely overpriced items, it’s time to move on and scope out somewhere else, even if it means driving a few miles further. Once you find a store that carries a good selection, check back often. My personal philosophy is that if you have luck somewhere once, you’ll have luck there again…just not necessarily on every trip.

2) Think outside the box. Just because something looks a certain way doesn’t mean it has to stay looking that way–as in, ugly colors are easy to paint over! This was a harder one for me because I had zero faith in my spray-painting skills until recently…so if I found something that didn’t match my color palate, it would have to stay that way until I could lug it home to my parents’ house and beg my mom to help me. However, spray painting–especially when it comes to smaller pieces–really isn’t that hard! When my mom and I redid some dressers a few summers ago, we did go through the whole process of sanding, priming, and then painting and painting again, but I definitely don’t do that with the smaller items I find. In my current apartment, I’m lucky enough to be able to paint on our roof, so all it takes is a quick trip to the hardware store for a can of spray paint or two (always buy extra–it’s better to have too much than have to run back to the hardware store mid-painting session), some plastic gloves, and a piece of tarp (you can also use an old sheet). I’m so glad that I decided to give spray painting a whirl because it really does transform a piece in a matter of hours.

3) Look for locals. As I mentioned earlier, there are tons of people who purchase vintage furniture and will fix it up for you. If you don’t have a ton of time to go browsing or don’t mind paying a bit more to have someone else take care of the painting and refurbishing process, do a quick Google or Instagram search for professionals in your area. I did this with my campaign dresser last year and am still very pleased with how the whole process worked out–working with a professional who had a large truck and highly skilled at painting was such a big help, as I never could’ve tackled such a large piece of furniture on my own! And if you’re really willing to spend some extra cash, you can look into out-of-state sources, as many people will not only refinish furniture, they’ll also ship it to you! One of a Find Charleston is one of my faves–I follow them for inspo and maybe will pull the trigger on one of their pieces at some point.

Happy shopping!

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